Siena Cake

posted by Janie 10-15-99 3:18 PM

Siena Cake

125g (4 oz) blanched almonds
1259 (4 oz) roasted hazelnuts
60g (2 oz) glace apricots
60g (2 oz) glace pineapple
60g (2 oz) mixed peel
2\3 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
60g (2 oz) dark chocolate
1\3 cup sugar
1\2 cup honey

Preheat oven to moderately slow (160 C).

Spread almonds on oven tray, put into moderate oven 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden. Chop hazelnuts and almonds roughly, combine in bowl with chopped apricots, chopped pineapple, chopped mixed peel, sifted flour, sifted cocoa and cinnamon, mix well.

Cut a strip of greaseproof paper 8cm (3in) wider than the depth of 20cm (8 in) round cake tin and long enough to go around tin. Fold over 2.5cm (I in) of paper strip on long side, cut this folded piece into 2.5cm (l in) diagonal pieces, to en- able paper to fit around curve of tin.

Cut a piece of grease- proof paper to fit in base of tin, grease before placing paper in tin, press firmly on base over the cut paper.

Melt chocolate in top of double saucepan over simmering water.

Put sugar and honey in separate saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved, brushing down sides of saucepan with brush dipped in hot water to dissolve any sugar crystals. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered approximately 5 minutes or until syrup forms a soft ball when a few drops are dropped into a glass of cold water.

Add syrup and melted chocolate to fruit and nut mixture, mix them well. Spread mixture quickly and evenly into prepared tin. Bake in moderately slow oven 35 minutes, remove from oven, cool in tin.

Turn out, remove paper. Wrap in aluminum foil. Leave at least one day before cutting.

Before serving, sift icing sugar thickly over top.

From Siena, in the Tuscan region of Italy comes this famous nut cake - so popular that it is exported from its native land to many countries. It is wafer-thin and can be cut into thin wedges or into slices about l cm (l/2 in) thick and then into small pieces. It is a perfect accompaniment to an after-dinner coffee.

Wrapped in aluminum foil to stay airtight, it will keep in good condition for weeks; you need not refrigerate.

Notes: You also need to mix the honey\sugar mix with the other ingredients quickly otherwise it cools and ends up with unmixed floury bits.

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